8 classic 90s albums that didn’t hit #1 in the UK
No-one can deny that the 90s were a great time for music, with countless classic albums released across loads of genres: grunge, Britpop, rap, techno and plenty more.
However, that wasn’t always reflected in the charts. In fact, a lot of seminal albums didn’t even get close to the top spot. Here are just a few of them.
Nevermind – Nirvana
25 years after it was first released, Nevermind is still the soundtrack to pretty much every teenage rebellion ever.
Despite its legendary status, it only peaked at 5 in the chart – in 2014. Before that, its highest position was 7!
Nevermind has been a consistent presence in the charts though, racking up 303 weeks in the top 100. It’s actually in the charts at the time of writing, no doubt due to the fact it recently turned 25.
The Bends – Radiohead
The Bends marked the beginning of Radiohead’s evolution from ‘that band who did Creep’ to one of the most artistically interesting and respected groups in the world.
Yet it wasn’t until OK Computer that Thom Yorke and the gang truly lit up the charts. The Bends debuted at number 6 in March 1995, then peaked at 4 in February 1996 (the albums above it were Oasis’ What’s the Story (Morning Glory)?, Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill and Pulp’s Different Class – that’s a pretty solid top 4!).
Like Nevermind, The Bends has been a slow-burner. It’s re-entered the top 100 numerous times over the past 20 years, spending a grand total of 203 weeks in the chart. It’s also sold over 1.2 million records, going 4x platinum!
The Chronic – Dr Dre
It’s nearly impossible to measure The Chronic’s influence on popular music, which makes it all the more surprising that it didn’t even chart in the UK when it was first released in 1994. It only entered the chart in 2000… at 65. Just under 4 years later, it hit its peak position of 43.
We’re sure Dre isn’t losing any sleep over it though, especially as Compton debuted at #1 last year (and the fact he’s ultra-rich too, obviously).
Ten – Pearl Jam
Yep, another classic grunge album that didn’t hit number one. Perhaps people weren’t all walking around with plaid shirts and long hair in the early 90s after all?
Still, the influence of Pearl Jam’s debut on a raft of bands cannot be denied. Alive and Even Flow didn’t do too badly in the singles charts either, hitting 15 and 16 respectively.
Dookie – Green Day
Dookie is certified 3x platinum in the UK, selling well over 900,000 records. The likes of Basket Case and When I Come Around are among the most popular pop-punk songs ever.
So how on earth did it only peak at 13 in the charts? It’s one of life’s great mysteries, although the fact it has spent 113 weeks in the chart is testament to its enduring popularity.
Dummy – Portishead
Certified double platinum? Check. Widely regarded as one of the best albums of the 90s? Check.
Number one album? Nope.
Dummy peaked at 2 in May 1995, held off the top spot by… Picture This by Wet Wet Wet. Blame your parents.
Grace – Jeff Buckley
Buckley’s only album, the beautiful Grace, wasn’t a huge success during its initial release. It spent a few weeks flitting around the mid-50s, disappeared, then returned for 5 more weeks in early 1995.
It didn’t hit its chart peak of 31 until 2014, ten years after Grace was first released.
Blood Sugar Sex Magik – Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Chilis are one of the biggest bands in the world and Blood Sugar Sex Magik is arguably their best album. Surely that’s the perfect formula for a number one record?
Apparently not. Blood Sugar Sex Magik’s peak position was 25, although it has since gone 3x platinum.
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